Babylonian Talmud, Baba Batra 21b
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תלמוד בבלי מסכת בבא בתרא דף כא עמוד ב
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אמר רב הונא: האי בר מבואה דאוקי ריחיא, ואתא בר מבואה חבריה וקמוקי גביה, דינא הוא דמעכב עילויה, דא"ל: קא פסקת ליה לחיותי. לימא מסייע ליה: מרחיקים מצודת הדג מן הדג כמלא ריצת הדג; וכמה? אמר רבה בר רב הונא: עד פרסה! שאני דגים, דיהבי סייארא.
R. Huna said: If one of the inhabitants of an alley establishes a handmill there, and another one comes to do the same, the law gives the former the right to prevent the latter; for the former may claim: "You are cutting off my livelihood." He is supported by the following: Fishermen must remove their nets from a fish which has already been marked by one of them while it was trying to escape from him to a distance that a fish is usually able to traverse. And to the question, How far is it? Rabba b. R. Huna said: "The distance of a parsa"? Nay, with fish the case is different, as they place spies (to look out for bait, and the former fisherman is certain that the fish will go to his bait and then he will surely catch it; but here his comrade may say to him: "I am not injuring your livelihood, as your customers will go to you and mine to me"). [Soncino translation]
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Suggested Discussion Questions:

1. Why is the owner of a handmill in an alley allowed to prevent a second person from building a handmill in that alley? Do you agree?

2. Why isn’t the fish case a support for the handmill case? What is different about the fishermen?

3. What does this text teach us about the nature of competition in business? When is it allowed, and when is it prohibited?

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Time Period: Rabbinic (Maccabees through the Talmud)